Summary. Economic Update 1 / 7 May 2016

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1 Economic Update

2 Economic Update 1 / 7 Summary 2 Global World GDP is forecast to grow only 2.4% in 2016, weighed down by emerging market weakness and increasing uncertainty. 3 Eurozone The modest eurozone recovery is expected to continue with 1.5% growth this year, but risks are increasing, stemming from geopolitical events and weakening external environment. 4 Advanced Markets 2% growth is expected for both the UK and the US, reflecting the impact on exports of strong domestic currencies and a worsening external environment. Political uncertainty is rising in the UK. 5 Emerging Markets The effects of low oil prices, the slowdown in China and tighter financing conditions continue to weigh on prospects for many emerging markets this year. 6 Credit and insolvencies Credit conditions are loosening further in most advanced economies while tightening in emerging economies. The insolvency outlook for 2016 has weakened for advanced markets while remaining poor for major emerging markets. 7 Table: Macroeconomic indicators for key markets

3 Economic Update 2 / 7 Global Global growth weakening The global GDP growth forecast for 2016 has been revised down another 0.1 percentage point for the fifth consecutive month, reflecting the ongoing deterioration of its outlook. The world economy is now forecast to expand 2.4% this year, down from a moderate 2.6% seen in The protracted fall in commodity prices, slowdown of China s economy, and most importantly US monetary policy uncertainty have fuelled a recent bout of volatility in the international financial markets. Though the latter has abated, uncertainty is up, increasingly weighing on the previously robust recoveries in advanced markets across Europe and North America. Oil prices have continued a gradual recovery through April, reaching USD 45 per barrel Brent. It appeared as though the global supply glut may finally reducing: US production is declining, supply from Iraq and Nigeria has been disrupted, and, Russia and Saudi Arabia had previously been rumoured to have agreed to freeze output. But it is unlikely that the rally will continue and we expect lower for longer prices still. More US shale producers find it profitable to produce at prices above USD 40 per barrel and, as demonstrated in the most recent OPEC meeting in Doha, there is still high risk of supply glut as major oil producers seek to retain market share. World trade growth is expected to remain muted. The WTO has revised down its forecast for growth in the volume of trade in 2015 to 2.8%. Atradius forecasts a more modest 2.5% expansion. The main reason for this is the transition of China from an industrial to a services-based economy while growth slows.

4 Economic Update 3 / 7 Eurozone Economic growth forecasts Austria Belgium Finland France Germany Greece Ireland Italy Netherlands Portugal Spain Eurozone Source: Consensus Forecasts (Apr 2016) Eurozone recovery is shaky Thus far, 2016 has proven how fragile the eurozone recovery remains. GDP growth for the region rose 1.5% last year, thanks to the improving labour market, low oil prices, and ultra-loose monetary policy, all contributing to rising business investment and domestic demand. The soft euro also helped boost foreign demand. But global risks as well as domestic risks stemming from rising uncertainty surrounding the UK s EU membership referendum and increasing security concerns have risen. Economic growth is now expected to stay flat at 1.5% levels in In order to address the waning economic outlook and avert deflation, the European Central Bank (ECB) cut interest rates to zero and expanded its expansionary monetary policy. Inflation stood at 0% year-on-year in March 2016 but economic sentiment has continued to deteriorate. The ECB has indicated that it will put further stimulus on hold as it works on implementing the existing stimulus.

5 Economic Update 4 / 7 Advanced Markets Economic growth forecasts United Kingdom United States Source: Consensus Forecasts (Apr 2016) US and UK exports weighing on 2016 growth The buoyant, consumer-driven recovery in the United States has also shown a disappointing performance so far in The labour market is increasingly strong, however: unemployment is low at 5% and the participation rate and wage growth are finally ticking up. So is inflation, at 0.9% y-o-y in March. But uncertainty surrounding the impact of financial turbulence and slowing emerging market growth has increasingly clouded the 2016 outlook. The volume of exports fell 5% in March 2016 compared to March 2015 due to the relatively strong US dollar and waning external demand. In the current environment, the Fed will most likely continue to hold off on tightening monetary policy in 2016H1. Across the pond, the UK s outlook is broadly similar to that of the US. Consumer spending is still fuelling the economic expansion but the strong pound and weak external demand are weighing on economic growth and manufacturing activity. Uncertainty surrounding the Brexit referendum, slated for June 23 rd, has already had a demonstrable negative impact on the UK economy. A poll taken by Markit and the UK Recruitment and Employment Confederation indicate that companies are putting hiring and investment decisions on hold ahead of the referendum. Loss of confidence has also led the pound to depreciate more than 10% in trade-weighted terms since November Annual growth is forecast at 2.0% for 2016 but a Brexit would bring this figure further down.

6 Economic Update 5 / 7 Emerging Markets Economic growth forecasts Asia (excl. Japan) Latin America Eastern Europe Source: Consensus Forecasts (Apr 2016) Another difficult year for emerging markets Aggregate growth across emerging market economies (EMEs) is forecast to rise 4% in 2016, the slowest pace since the onset of the global crisis. Headwinds that have been growing through 2015 will persist this year. Growth continues to be weighed down by low commodity prices, uncertainty regarding the pace of US monetary policy normalisation, rising (geo-)political risk, and concerns about domestic policy measures. Emerging Asia will remain the fastest growing world region by far with 5.6% growth forecast. India s economy is forecast to grow 7.6% leading this figure. But headline Asian growth is 0.2 percentage points lower than in 2015 due to China s economic slowdown amidst a rebalancing toward consumption-led growth. The performance of China has a large impact on many other countries. Lower import demand in China, in combination with declining commodity prices, affects many economies in the region and commodity-exporting countries around the world. The situation is increasingly dire in emerging economies in Europe and Central Asia (Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan), the Middle East (Saudi Arabia, Oman) and Latin America (Brazil, Venezuela). Latin America is forecast to experience another GDP contraction in 2016 of -0.6%, suffering from low commodity prices as well as political scandals. The overall figure is weighed down by Venezuela (-7.8%) and Brazil (-3.8%). Recessions are also expected to continue in Argentina and Ecuador. On the other hand, the situation in Eastern Europe is expected to improve. After a meagre 0.2% expansion in 2015, regional GDP is forecast to rise 1.1% in The recession in Russia will continue (-1.3%) but Ukraine s economy is forecast to grow 1.0% as the economy stabilises from a very low starting point.

7 Economic Update 6 / 7 Credit and insolvencies Business environment worsening Credit conditions in the eurozone remain very loose and it appears that ECB policy is having some of its intended impact. Interest rates charged by banks on company loans have continued their downward trend since The 2016 Q1 ECB Bank Lending Survey shows that negative deposit rates are effectively boosting lending (though they are further hurting bank profitability). Despite improving credit conditions, the insolvency outlook has deteriorated amid rising global uncertainty. Atradius now forecasts aggregate insolvency growth across the 22 advanced markets assessed to be unchanged in 2016, the first year of no improvement since the 30% global rise in business failures experienced in Low commodity prices are a major factor in rising insolvencies in Australia (+6%), Canada (+4%) and to a lesser extent the United States (+2%) who is suffering a sharp rise in insolvencies in its oil sector. Lower external demand for exports is another issue weighing on the business environment in the US as well as in many advanced countries including the UK (+2%; further hurt by Brexit-related uncertainty), New Zealand (+2%) and Japan (-1%). In emerging markets, credit conditions are still tightening, largely in response to increased global financial market uncertrainty. Many emerging markets, particularly commodityexporters and those dependent on China, are forecast to see a rise in insolvencies. The economic slowdown in China is expected to lead to a sharp increase in insolvencies there while recessions in Brazil and Russia will also lead to rising bankruptcies.

8 Economic Update 7 / 7 Macroeconomic indicators for key markets GDP growth (% of GDP) Budget balance (% of GDP) Current account balance (% of GDP) Export growth (%) Political risk Rating Western markets Austria POSITIVE Belgium NEGATIVE Finland POSITIVE France NEGATIVE Germany POSITIVE Greece POSITIVE Ireland POSITIVE Italy POSITIVE Netherlands POSITIVE Portugal POSITIVE Spain POSITIVE Eurozone Australia POSITIVE Canada POSITIVE Denmark POSITIVE Norway Sweden POSITIVE Switzerland United Kingdom STABLE USA POSITIVE Central and Eastern Europe Czech Republic STABLE Hungary POSITIVE Poland NEGATIVE Russia POSITIVE Slovakia POSITIVE Turkey STABLE Asia China STABLE India NEGATIVE Japan POSITIVE Latin America Brazil POSITIVE Mexico POSITIVE 1 Note: STAR is Atradius in-house political risk rating. The STAR rating runs on a scale from 1 to 10, where 1 represents the lowest risk and 10 the highest risk. In addition to the 10-point scale there are rating modifiers associated with each scale step: Positive, Stable, and Negative. These rating modifiers allow further granularity and differentiate more finely between countries in terms of risk. Sources: Consensus Economics, IHS, National accounts, Atradius Economic Research

9 If you ve found this economic update useful, why not visit our website where you ll find many more Atradius publications focusing on the global economy, including country reports, industry analysis, advice on credit management and essays on current business issues. Connect with Atradius on social media Disclaimer This report is provided for information purposes only and is not intended as a recommendation or advice as to particular transactions, investments or strategies in any way to any reader. Readers must make their own independent decisions, commercial or otherwise, regarding the information provided. While we have made every attempt to insure that the information contained in this report has been obtained from reliable sources, Atradius is not responsible for any errors or omissions or for the results obtained from the use of this information. All information in this report is provided as is, with no guarantee of completeness, accuracy, timeliness or of the results obtained from its use, and without warranty of any kind, express or implied. In no event will Atradius, its related partnerships or corporations, or the partners, agents or employees thereof, be liable to you or anyone else for any decision made or action taken in reliance on the information in this report or for any consequential, special or similar damages, even if advised of the possibility of such damages. Copyright Atradius Credit Insurance N.V Atradius David Ricardostraat JS Amsterdam Postbus JD Amsterdam The Netherlands Tel

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